The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the Urumqi Municipality where the Institute is headquartered. The signing ceremony took place in the Urumqi Exhibition Center on 18 November 2020.
High-ranking officials from all parties attended the signing ceremony. Ms. Zou Jiayi, Vice Minister of Finance, PRC, Mr. Zhang Chunlin, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Committee of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Executive Vice Governor of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Mr. Wan Haichuan, the Vice Chairman of the 11th CPPCC of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, member of the Party Group of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Director General of the Xinjiang Finance Department, Mr. Yasin Sidik, the Deputy Secretary of the Urumqi Municipal Party Committee and Mayor of the Urumqi Municipality, and Mr. Syed Shakeel Shah, Director of the CAREC Institute spoke (via video) to mark this important occasion.
The key participants included Mr. Wang Zhongjing, Director General of the Center for Evaluation of the World Bank Loan Projects, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Liu Weihua, Deputy Director General of the Department of International Economic and Financial Cooperation, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Liang Ziqian, Deputy director one of CAREC Institute, Mr. Gao Feng, Deputy Secretary of Urumqi Municipal Party Committee and Executive Deputy Mayor of Urumqi government chaired the signing ceremony.
Mr. Zhang Chunlin, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Committee of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Executive Vice Governor of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Mr. Yasin Sidik, Deputy Secretary of the Urumqi Municipal Party Committee and Mayor of the Urumqi Municipality (on behalf of the People’s Republic of China) and Mr. Liang Ziqian, Deputy Director One of the CAREC Institute (on behalf of the CAREC Institute) signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
In her speech, Ms. Zou Jiayi pointed out that the CAREC Institute serves as an excellent platform for eleven member countries, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other development partners to conduct extensive consultations on regional cooperation topics. The Chinese state leaders attach great importance to the regional economic cooperation in Central Asia and to smooth functioning of the Institute. For the future development of the CAREC Institute, Ms. Zou suggested the Institute to continue supporting the CAREC Strategy 2030 and meet the specific demands of member countries; the Institute should further expand cooperation partnerships, continue to strengthen cooperation with the ADB and other development partners regarding the mutually beneficial aspects of development, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other multilateral institutions, to create networks to support the region better; the CAREC institute should also promote its brand, steadily play its unique role as an intergovernmental organization by enhancing its flagship products, such as the Think Tank Development Forum (TTDF), the Central Asia Regional Economic Integration Index (CRII), the Corridor Performance Measurement And Monitoring(CPMM), etc.
Mr. Wan Haichuan stressed that Xinjiang government is focused on opening-up of the PRC’s north-west to play a central role in regional development, and promote high-level economic engagement. Mr. Wan also mentioned that the signing of the MOU marks a new starting point to deepen cooperation between Xinjiang and the CAREC Institute. Xinjiang will provide required support to the Institute, and work with other parties to take the regional economic cooperation in CAREC to a new height.
Mr. Yasin Sidik pointed out that the CAREC Institute is committed to providing knowledge sharing services to the CAREC region. The Xinjiang government, on the other hand, is not only sharing development opportunities to achieve win-win cooperation scenarios with CAREC countries, but also helps speed up construction of the Urumqi city Silk Road Economic Zone which has a potential to inject new economic drivers in the region. He noted that Urumqi city is committed to support development of the CAREC Institute.
Mr. Syed Shakeel Shah pointed out that the CAREC Institute sincerely appreciates the strong support of the Chinese government, especially its generous financial donation. At the same time, He thanked the People’s Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for its trust, motivation and support, also for awarding the former Director Sanjaasuren Bayaraa with the Tianshan Mountain Award, the highest honor of the Autonomous Region. The contribution and support of the People’s Government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to the Institute has also been unanimously recognized and highly appreciated by its partners and member states. The decision of the CAREC Institute to be headquartered in Urumqi reflects the Chinese government’s vision to develop Xinjiang as the economic hub in western China.
The signing ceremony of the host city MOU marks a new milestone in the history of the Institute, which will further boost the development of the Institute, and take the regional economic cooperation in Central Asia to a new height. As a regional think tank, the CAREC Institute aims to play an active role in sharing knowledge, providing capacity building opportunities, as well as facilitating communication among think tanks, and promoting regional economic integration.